Farmer Portal

Jan 2013

Meadow Farmers Newsletter June 08

Meadow Foods Newsletter June 2008

Milk Testing

We recently wrote to all producers explaining the new reporting system within weekly payment testing. This system means that if your normal weekly quality test falls outside your normal result range or contractual levels, a follow up test will be triggered. This will allow you to confirm any ongoing quality issues. The follow up test will be used for payment purposes, and not the original out of line result, unless there should be any extenuating circumstances in which case an adjustment will be agreed.

As before milk testing is carried out by National Milk Labs under exactly the same standards.

 

Managing Butterfat at Grass

Maintaining good butterfat levels at grass is an ongoing challenge as average yields increase and swards are managed to provide highly digestible grazing. However, by identifying the likely causes of butterfat depression, and overcoming some of the basic limitations, there is scope to take some simple steps to address the problem.

There are 3 primary factors which are often interlinked. Firstly lack of structural fibre – this is an inherent limitation when grass is grazed at a young, leafy stage. Secondly – subclinical acidosis caused by lack of fibre and excessive sugar and starch in the diet – especially when relying on grazing plus in-parlour feeding. And thirdly, the fatty acid composition of the diet – grass and clover are generally high in unsaturated oils which are not good for synthesising milk fat. In addition, other vegetable oils as found in products like brewers grains and distillers, and oily compound feeds will further add to the supply of unsaturated oils.

 

The following steps should be taken to

alleviate the above:

 

1. Feed a source of good structural fibre to maintain rumen fill and promote cud chewing. Fibrous silage or wholecrop and straw are ideal. Quantities fed need not be massive, but aim to get some fibrous feed into cows before their peak early evening grazing period. This will stay in the rumen and give the fibre digesting bugs something to work on.

 

Milk Testing

We recently wrote to all producers explaining the new reporting system within weekly payment testing. This system means that if your normal weekly quality test falls outside your normal result range or contractual levels, a follow up test will be triggered. This will allow you to confirm any ongoing quality issues. The follow up test will be used for payment purposes, and not the original out of line result, unless there should be any extenuating circumstances in which case an adjustment will be agreed.

As before milk testing is carried out by National Milk Labs under exactly the same standards.

 

Managing Butterfat at Grass

Maintaining good butterfat levels at grass is an ongoing challenge as average yields increase and swards are managed to provide highly digestible grazing. However, by identifying the likely causes of butterfat depression, and overcoming some of the basic limitations, there is scope to take some simple steps to address the problem.

There are 3 primary factors which are often interlinked. Firstly lack of structural fibre – this is an inherent limitation when grass is grazed at a young, leafy stage. Secondly – subclinical acidosis caused by lack of fibre and excessive sugar and starch in the diet – especially when relying on grazing plus in-parlour feeding. And thirdly, the fatty acid composition of the diet – grass and clover are generally high in unsaturated oils which are not good for synthesising milk fat. In addition, other vegetable oils as found in products like brewers grains and distillers, and oily compound feeds will further add to the supply of unsaturated oils.

 

High SCC’s: the overflowing sink By Di Bendall MRCVS

 

The options with an overflowing sink are to mop up or to turn off the tap. The choice with a herd cell count problem is much the same. Your monthly results come back, you go straight to the front page and look for the worst offenders. Those cows are then either culled or kept out of the tank. The result on the tank is instant, you have “mopped up” but in the long term it is not an effective strategy as nothing has been done to address the underlying problem and you may even have culled cows that could have been cured. Mopping up only works for so long before the sink overflows again, what you need to do is turn off the tap and ideally before the sink even overflows.

Evidence shows that the majority of cows who end up with cell counts in the millions started much further down the list just above 200,000 cells/ml, and that was their cry for help and that it was time to act. Acting early is important for many reasons:

·       Because bugs such as staph aureus and strep uberis are more than happy living in an udder, these infections are getting harder to treat.

·       Because the longer a cow is infected the more chance she has of infecting other cows

·       Because these cows will be affecting bulk tank SCC and TBC and in turn your milk cheque.

·       Because earlier treatment is more likely to lead to a cure

·       Because high cell count cows are often culled

·       Because these cows have reduced yield as they develop scar tissue in the udder

·       Because these cows are costing you money

Often people fear the cost of involving the vet in investigating a cell count problem whilst completely ignoring what the true cost of sub-clinical mastitis is. Decreased yield, dumped milk, treatment costs, culls, replacement costs and missing out on quality payments all add up to some frightening figures. Decreasing the bulk cell count from 250,000 to 200,000, has the effect of increasing yield by 100 litres/cow/lactation, based on a 305 day yield of 8,000 litres.

 

How to turn off the tap:

First you need to know where it is. Cell count problems can have there origin in different ways, in some herds the dry period is a big factor, in others it can be conversion of clinical mastitis to subclinical, and some may have high numbers of heifers calving in infected. Record analysis will help identify where the risk of new infections lie.

You then need the right tools. Individual cell counts are essential to allow you to identify the infected cows and bacteriology is important to find out which bugs you so that they can be targeted with the right treatment.

Then you follow the instructions. Having a plan to stop cow to cow spread is essential as is treating early with the right product. The plan has to be individually designed for the issues of each farm for the herd as whole and for treatment of individual problem cows, so it’s impossible to give all the answers here. But if you get it right you turn off the tap. The most important thing is to keep doing what you are doing because if you don’t it will start dripping again!

For more information contact: Di Bendall MRCVS Deva Vets Ltd, 01244 670170.

Or get in touch with us through our contact page.